Beiläufige Komplexitäten

Architectural History and Curatorial Studies

The starting point of this paper was the observation that in many places in Europe today, young designers realise an inconspicuous architecture that at first glance is perhaps not perceived as the work of architects; one might walk by without even noticing it. At the same time, the buildings are characterised by a design variety that at first seems inconsistent with the inconspicuous design. The fascination for the ambivalent image of these buildings motivated me to take a closer look. My thesis explored how the complex, incidental character of these buildings emerges and what architectural approach they are based on. Therefore, nine projects by young Munich architectural offices were studied and put in relation to positions in the history of architecture.

Three fundamental attitudes can be observed in the design processes: a pragmatic attitude in dealing with external conditions, an appreciation of the context and a high level of design ambition.
The studied architectural designs are decisively determined by their framework conditions, such as building laws and limited budgets. In dealing with these conditions, the architects develop a specific pragmatism and combine pragmatic with aesthetic considerations. As a reaction to the strict external conditions and the increasingly complex building sector, a return to architectural simplicity and an orientation towards images of the everyday can be observed.
The particular way in which the architectural context is dealt with is another central aspect of the observed projects. Instead of contrasting the existing buildings, the examined projects work strongly with the existing. Context and history are not ideals for the architects. The focus is on transforming typical local patterns to the present day and making use of the existing with a view to today’s challenges. The designers are often guided by an idea of the context that builds on the familiar. The conscious return to the familiar and the development of a generally understandable architectural language can be seen as a reaction to the rapidly changing and challenging times.
Additionally, nuances and details characterise the observed projects. An architecture of design diversity emerges that demonstrates the architects’ interest in not only solving problems, but in making architecture. Between integration into the context on the one hand and individual design in detail on the other, a state of tension emerges in the examined projects – an ambivalence of unity and diversity. Their consciously designed formal contradictions also contribute to the design depth of the studied projects, so that the buildings often elude simple readability.
The blending of these different influences and the resulting ambiguous image determine the incidental appearance of the projects. The incidentality is the result of a complexity that the observed projects develop in the architectural combination of pragmatism, the appreciation of the context and the design ambition of the architects. The result is a complex architecture that reflects contemporary times and is situated between the functional and the designed.

Wohnhaus Goldern / Almannai Fischer
© Anna-Maria Mayerhofer
Turnhalle Haiming / Almannai Fischer
© Anna-Maria Mayerhofer
Wohnhaus an der Waldstraße / Baur & Latsch Architekten
© Anna-Maria Mayerhofer
Reihenmittelhaus Krüner / Multerer Architekten
© Anna-Maria Mayerhofer
Wohnhaus Altötting / Almannai Fischer
© Anna-Maria Mayerhofer